Syracuse defense offers encouraging signs in 35-26 loss at No. 25 Louisiana State

first_img Published on September 24, 2017 at 2:37 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR BATON ROUGE, La. — When Syracuse needed a turnover most, late in the game down two scores with Louisiana State at the Orange’s 28-yard line, it got one.The Tigers had picked on SU cornerback Juwan Dowels repeatedly throughout the night. On its last drive of the first half, LSU targeted Dowels’ receiver three times in six plays, until Stephen Sullivan hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass and outran Dowels to the end zone.But on that fourth quarter play on the 28, as it had so often, Syracuse blitzed. True freshman LSU quarterback Myles Brennan turned left at the sight of Orange linebacker Parris Bennett barreling down the and whipped a bullet to a kneeling Dowels for LSU’s first turnover of the season.“Their defensive line was penetrating and stunting, getting in the backfield,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. “We weren’t able to pick it up. … (Our quarterback) was under duress the whole night. Without watching the film, I’d say that the Syracuse defensive line won.”Ultimately, Syracuse’s (2-2) defensive lapses leading to long gains, along with a struggling offense, sunk the Orange against No. 25 LSU (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern), 35-26. But defensive personnel and SU head coach Dino Babers thought it was the Orange’s best defensive presence of the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“A few mishaps, breakdowns, a loss of focus,” Bennett said. “We just can’t have that. … But we just know we have so much room to grow, and that’s what’s frustrating.”The Orange locked down the first quarter, holding the Tigers to 15 yards. On six of its first seven possessions, LSU gained 32 yards or fewer.In the second quarter, LSU running back Derrius Guice ripped off an 11-yard gain, but on the next play Bennett stuffed him in the backfield. At the time, Syracuse still trailed 7-3 and Bennett popped up from the tackle nodding his head, a subdued celebration because he knew his team still had a long way to go.No one was more instrumental in the defense than Bennett, who had a team-high 12 tackles — three for loss. His impact extended beyond the box score, as his multiple quarterback hurries, including the one on Dowels’ interception, had a visible impact on both of the Tigers’ signal callers.“We’ve got full faith in (defensive coordinator) Brian Ward and whatever he calls,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “We’ll run it like our hair’s on fire — if he wants us to sit back or he wants us to go get him. We pride ourselves on getting after the quarterback and we got after him today.”The Orange held LSU, the nation’s fourth-best rushing attack entering the game, to 151 yards, about two-thirds of what former Tiger running back Leonard Fournette had on his own in 2015. Franklin and Bennett know this defense is much improved from that unit, as they both are individually along with versatility. Babers knows it as well, he said Saturday.“We’re a different team than we were last year,” Franklin said. “Everyone else is just finding that out. We knew that.“But until we can put a complete game together, the world will never see it.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img